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Ideas Are Scary And Surprising

by Txchnologist staff

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk,” Thomas Edison said. Many of Edison’s quotes are about the importance of inspiration and work. With these two ingredients, the optimistic tinkerer can shape raw materials into brand new things.

Of course, this is a significant oversimplification of the process of innovation. Turning imagination into something fully realized is not a simple or clear-cut task, with the journey to many great advances looking a lot like stumbling around in the dark blindly.

From medicine and physics to the creation of new appliances, the process at the heart of changing the world may not often be beautiful, but the final result is. Here are six game-changing discoveries in which chance, curiosity and an open mind played a huge part:

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A Drop Of Power Makes Hydrogen Fuel Cheaper

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by Michael Keller

**Editor’s Note: There seems to be some confusion based on readers’ comments that this post is about researchers discovering electrolysis of water. That process has been known since the 18th century. This article is about research looking to make industrial-scale hydrogen gas from water using novel electrodes that diminish the amount of electricity and precious metals needed during electrolysis.**

Scientists have made a breakthrough in generating hydrogen gas fuel more efficiently by splitting water with smaller amounts of electricity. 

Stanford University researchers report that they have disassembled water molecules into gaseous hydrogen and oxygen with the electromotive force of a single AAA battery. Both gaseous products are flammable and hydrogen is considered a viable power source for electricity production and vehicles. In fact, the first hydrogen fuel cell cars will be available for purchase in the US beginning in 2015.

The Stanford group also accomplished the low-power water splitting, a process called water electrolysis, without the expensive precious metals typically used. They put two electrodes in a beaker of water and sent current through them, which broke the liquid into the two gases.

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Txchnologist turned 2 today!
Thanks for reading, everyone. We’ve been having a great time searching the world for the most interesting and exciting innovations in science and technology.
Now come help us spotlight the next big thing. Are you a scientist or engineer cooking up something big? Do you have a professor who is doing amazing work but not getting the attention he or she deserves? Has your older sister locked herself in the garage while she develops a fusion-fueled generator?
Send us some fan mail about it. Who knows? Maybe your work will be featured on Txchnologist.

Txchnologist turned 2 today!

Thanks for reading, everyone. We’ve been having a great time searching the world for the most interesting and exciting innovations in science and technology.

Now come help us spotlight the next big thing. Are you a scientist or engineer cooking up something big? Do you have a professor who is doing amazing work but not getting the attention he or she deserves? Has your older sister locked herself in the garage while she develops a fusion-fueled generator?

Send us some fan mail about it. Who knows? Maybe your work will be featured on Txchnologist.

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Living Tissue Emerges From 3-D Printer

Harvard bioengineers say they have taken a big step toward using 3-D printers to make living tissue. They’ve made a machine with multiple printer heads that each extrudes a different biological building block to make complex tissue and blood vessels.

Their work represents a significant advance toward producing living medical models upon which drugs could be tested for safety and effectiveness.

It also advances the ball in the direction of an even bigger goal. Such a machine and the techniques being refined by researchers offer a glimpse of the early steps in a sci-fi healthcare scenario: One day surgeons might feed detailed CT scans of human body parts into a 3-D printer, manipulate them with design software, and produce healthy replacements for diseased or injured tissues or organs.

Read more below and click the gifs for explanations. 

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